Louisa’s Walk – Minimalist and Interactive Theatre!

What a week it’s been, with NSW school holidays, we have taken so many families out on Louisa’s Walk. One day we had two family groups plus a lady in a wheelchair travelling with her husband. A big range of ages and mobility presents a bit of a challenge but we are more than able to rise to it. I used to teach speech and drama so am able to include the children in lots of interactive ways. Not only does this make it more interesting for the children but their parents and other adults enjoy watching the interaction.

When the group is large enough, we line everyone up in the Assignables Yard. We all stand straight and tall as Chris, in one of his many roles, walks up and down choosing which “woman” to hire as a servant. I will have pre-warned everyone not to pick up the scarf (which is how the masters would indicate their selection) without first looking at me (Louisa). There is lots of tension as he makes his choice. Again in the Chapel, Chris always gives his little bell to a primary age child and they ring it on his nod as he explains the daily routine of the Female Factory. Older boys love being posted as the guard who will warn me when the overseer is returning in the Crime Yard, “psst- Louisa -he’s coming!”

What a working bee we had doing the wash this week as I got the girls to help me at the tubs and the boys to haul water. Whilst I am not at all gender biased you have to understand it was the girls who did the washing! I love the fact that, once the children have got used to our minimalist theatre they go along with the mime. There is hardly any infrastructure left at the Cascades Female Factory just imposing sandstone walls. But we paint the yards with our words…………. The prison becomes so real as the audience is drawn into our story. Again and again we hear the comment “You really take us there”. Our theatre is minimalist and powerful.

Our week culminated today with some passengers from the “Sapphire Princess” the huge cruise ship that has been making regular calls into Hobart this season (and this is her last one before returning to the United States for their summer season). They had found us because they had seen good reviews on Trip Advisor. They had just typed in “Things to do in Hobart” and there we were. We love people who find us this way, individuals looking for a different experience in Hobart. Something memorable and unique;the very antithesis of being herded onto a coach and just being part of a crowd. I learn everyone’s names on Louisa and treat our audience members as friends!

A TAFE student commented last week, “As Louisa’s Walk came to an end, it was like coming out of a very powerful movie – you are not ready for the real world”.

I’m happy with that.

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4 Comments

  1. eamon quaggin
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    very very good!

  2. Posted October 21, 2008 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic performance. Very imformative and well thought out.

  3. Ira Zweifler
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Tough math!

    My wife and I will arrive in Hobart on 3-Apr-09 on the MS Millennium. I know some of the passengers have made a reservation, and I would like 2 tickets (or places if more applicable). Is there any way to do this over the internet?

    Thanks

  4. Ira Zweifler
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Judith:
    In addition to ‘Trip Advisor’, many of us, including myself, found your unique look into the history of Hobart, on a website called CruiseCritic.com.

    This site, among other areas of interest, maintains a thread (Posting Board) by trip. The March 29th sailing of the Millenium has such a thread, and that’s where I heard of your live theater.

    When we see you, if you are interested, I can let you know how to access this site, and perhaps, increase the number of visitor’s who will know about you.

    Ira

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